‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ Explained: What Were The Changes Made From ‘Forrest Gump’? Why Does The Adaptation Fail?

Aamir Khan’s latest release, “Laal Singh Chaddha,” is probably one of the worst adaptations with such promising casting. Director Advait Chandan may have thought that adapting “Forrest Gump” for the Indian audience won’t be that tough. But, he did not take into consideration that even Tom Hanks, after performing brilliantly in films like “The Terminal”, “Cast Away”, and “Saving Private Ryan”, is still mentioned for his performance in “Forrest Gump”. The film and Tom Hanks’ performance is still etched in the mind of every cinephile. A film like “Forrest Gump” comes once in a lifetime, and you can never replicate it. The only thing you can do is wish you could make a film like that or tell an even better story. Neither happened in this adaptation, and for Aamir Khan, it was one of his worst performances.


Spoilers Ahead

Who Is Laal Singh Chaddha? What Happens In The Film?

Laal Singh Chaddha (Aamir Khan) talks about his life while holding a packet of golgappas on the train. Everyone gets intrigued by listening to his stories. He hails from a small village and is less bright than other children. He has strong legs but a distorted spine, for which he had to wear these leg braces so that he could walk. Everyone mocked him for this, and he had a hard time coping up with the other kids in school. But, Rupa D’souza (Kareena Kapoor) offered him a seat, and they have been best buddies since that time. After the emergency ended, Laal Singh visited his aunty’s house in Amritsar and saw the communal riots there. To protect him from the ongoing events, his mother told him that he should stay at home as malaria was spreading outside. Later, in his village, a group of boys chased Laal Singh, and Rupa told him to run. When he started running, magic happened. His braces broke and he flew like a bird. The same incident occurred when Laal and Rupa were at Hindu College, Delhi. There too, he was abused by some boys and ran to escape from them. Seeing him run so fast, the college’s track team coach selected him. Laal even won many medals by running. Later, he found Rupa with someone else. When he asked about her feelings towards him, she said she wanted to be rich. For 10 rupees, Rupa’s father had killed her mother, and the only thing she wanted now was to become rich. 


After finishing college, Laal joined the Indian Army and was introduced to Balaraju Bodi (Naga Chaitanya Akkineni). Balaraju’s ancestors used to be professionals in making undergarments. He wished to launch his brand one day and wanted Laal to partner with him. After several events, Laal found out that Rupa was not interested in marrying him. He then left for Ladakh as he had got posted in the mountain regions of Kargil. There, Laal Singh saved five lives, including that of a terrorist named Mohammed Baaji (Manav Vij). While doing so, Laal was hit with a bullet on his butt and also lost Bala in the battle. However, for saving five lives on the battlefield, he received the “Veer Chakra” and became the track team’s assistant coach. Then one day, he met with Mohammad Baaji and found him in a wheelchair as he had lost both his legs during the battle. They shared a moment, and there Laal told him about his plan to open an undergarment business to honor Bala’s dreams. Soon after, he came back to his old place and started making undergarments as promised to Bala. When he met with Mohammad earlier, he told him that if he could ever manage to manufacture undergarments by himself, he would join him to help him with marketing. So, Mohammad finally came and started their business. The company was previously named “Bala,” but for some marketing strategies, Mohammad suggested Laal use a girl’s name instead. So, Laal launched his garments, calling them “Rupa,” and soon became a millionaire.

Rupa, on the other hand, tried to be an actress and got hooked up with a gangster. Soon, she escaped from his clutches and came to live with Laal. By this time, Laal’s mother was gone, and even Rupa left him one night when the police came to the house. Rupa was caught being associated with a gangster, and later she served a lesser jail time of six months as she helped the police capture him. After Rupa left Laal, he ran straight for more than four years and became a sensation on the news channels. Rupa came to know about him and wanted to meet him in Chandigarh at her place. When Laal visited her, she told him about their son. Laal and Rupa finally got married, and soon after, Rupa died as she was suffering from some unknown disease. Laal brought up their son with the same affection with which his mother had brought him up.


What Were The Mistakes That Made ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ Annoying?

Firstly, you never adapt a screenplay without understanding the story’s soul. Who was Forrest Gump? He had an I.Q. of 75 and ran his whole life to escape from the troubles until the very moment he realized that his best friend was left behind. A battlefield is the most critical place where any stupid decision can take away your life. Forrest wasn’t a bright kid; all he cared about was saving his best friend from the enemies. He went to save his best friend without caring much about the dangers on the battlefield. When he found Bubba (Forrest’s best friend) lying there with a hole in his belly due to a bullet shot, he did not know what was happening. Forrest Gump had never experienced death before. When Bubba died, Forrest realized that a best friend was a rare thing to find. After Bubba’s death, it was the first time he understood what it meant. So, this was Forrest Gump. A stupid boy from a small town who became a millionaire and thought “Apple Computers” was a fruit company by its logo.

Now, “Laal Singh Chaddha” copied every action of “Forrest Gump,” but the innocence was never there. When Bala was about to die, it seemed like Laal knew he would die. If we take it from the beginning, when Forrest Gump started to tell his story, there were different reactions from different people. The first woman he interacted with showed minimal interest in his story, but soon she was intrigued by it. But, when her bus arrived, she left. The last woman he interacted with left her bus to listen to his stories. Because the random people represented the audience, the more Forrest went deeper into his stories, the more interested they became. Here, Laal Singh Chaddha started telling his stories, and everyone, including the kids and T.T., was curious. Some might argue that historical events such as the Emergency, Indira Gandhi’s assassination, Advani’s Ram Rath Yatra, Mandal Commission, Susmita Sen’s Miss Universe Award, Anna Hazare’s hunger strike, 26/11, etc., were well constructed. Still, at times, they seemed a bit forced.


Even Lieutenant Dan was replaced by a terrorist. Lieutenant Dan played a pivotal role in “Forrest Gump”, becoming one of the very special people in Forrest’s life. He first hated Forrest for saving him on the battlefield and later taking care of his business for the rest of his life. He was a friend, a brother that Forrest always wished to have. In “Laal Singh Chaddha”, a terrorist turns out to be a good man after seeing 26/11 on TV. He invests money in stocks and opens up schools in Pakistan. If you want to establish the goodness residing within the terrorists, at least make it convincing enough so that it doesn’t become irritating.

Aamir Khan’s Idiotic Approach To Portraying ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’

What Aamir Khan did in “Laal Singh Chaddha” is a pure insult to the character itself. There were unnecessary “hmms” that became very annoying sooner than you thought. His eyebrows are always pointed towards the sky for no particular reason. I don’t know if Forrest Gump was mentally challenged, but “Laal Singh Chaddha” sure was. He asked Rupa more than four times to marry him. See how annoying he gets? What Aamir Khan wanted to represent in this film is very confusing, but it is pretty sure that it was not Forrest Gump. Laal Singh Chaddha is more like a guy who understands everything and knows how to behave, except in front of Rupa. The innocence we felt in “Forrest Gump” had to be pointed out here in “Laal Singh Chaddha”. In other words, they might have replicated the facts, but the soul was lost from the very first scene on the train.


Final Words

If anyone has seen “Forrest Gump” once and it somehow inspired them to watch more good films, do not watch “Laal Singh Chaddha”. It is very disappointing that the world will know what kind of work Bollywood has produced with “Laal Singh Chaddha”. They should have stopped filming it when they saw Aamir Khan’s approach to the character. “Forrest Gump” was brilliantly written, picking up historical events and making them relatable to the story all along. Whereas “Laal Singh Chaddha” only had the historical events without any relation to the origin of the story. Movies like “Forrest Gump” should never be filmed twice because they can’t be.

“Laal Singh Chaddha” is a 2022 Indian Romance Drama film running in theaters.

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Shovan Roy
Shovan Roy
Shovan Roy is a creative content writer. Formerly he used to write film reviews on an international film festival website named Beyond the Curve International Film Festival. He also interviewed global directors. He also interviewed one of the characters from the show 'Trailer Park Boys', Mr. Bernard Robichaud, platformed in Netflix. Shovan tends to write through the third person narrative and he loves to do psychoanalysis. He can't say that he has mastered it but that is some sort of hobby of his. Film is a platform where he loves to spend most of his time learning.

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